Achmad Ibrahim/AP
A Muslim man stands at a mosque damaged by a powerful earthquake in Solok, West Sumatra,
Indonesia, Friday, March 9,
2007. (AP)

Earthquakes in Indonesia and Japan Join Growing List

September 11, 2008 01:02 PM
by Josh Katz
A major earthquake struck in Indonesia today and another one hit soon after in Japan. They are the latest in a spate of quakes to occur around the world this week.
Two earthquakes occurred in the Pacific “Ring of Fire” on Thursday morning, an area known for its seismic activity, sparking tsunami worries. An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.1 occurred at 9:21 a.m. local time off the island of Hokkaido in northern Japan. The other quake, with a magnitude of 6.6, occurred an hour earlier in northeastern Indonesia beneath the Molucca Sea.

Authorities have not reported casualties or major damage in either location.

Japanese authorities urged the 10,600 residents of Ofunato in Iawte Prefecture to leave their homes because of a potential tsunami, but only about 146 residents did so, according to Agence France-Presse The Associated Press reports that, 35 minutes after the Japanese quake, merely a 4-inch tsunami reached the country’s coast.

“We ask people in strongly-shaken areas to be on full alert as chances of housing collapses or landslides may have increased,” said Takashi Yokota, the quake and tsunami division chief of the Japan Meteorological Agency.

In Indonesia, a local agency had initially put their quake’s magnitude at 7.6, but the U.S. Geological Survey places the number at 6.6.

Geologists claim that there is no relation between earthquake in Japan and the one in Indonesia, according to The Telegraph.

Thursday’s earthquakes come after a moderate quake hit Chile on Wednesday and a 6.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off the coast of Iran earlier that morning. A 6.5-magnitude earthquake hit the South Pacific island of Vanuatu Monday, and a smaller quake hit Sumatra Tuesday.

Indonesia and Japan are no strangers to major earthquakes. In December 2004, an earthquake hit off the coast of Sumatra in Indonesia, causing a devastating tsunami that the killed 230,000 people. A 7.2 magnitude quake hit the Japanese city of Kobe in 1995, killing 6,400 people. According to experts, there is a 90-percent chance that a large quake will hit Tokyo in the next 50 years, AP writes.

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